Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 11 / NOVEMBER 1983 / PAGE 333

Robotics and industrial electronics. (book reviews) Steve Gray.

Designed to be used with the Heathkit Hero 1 robot ($999.95 kit, $399.95 arm kit, $149.95 voice synthesizer kit; $2499.95 assembled with arm and voice), this course is "fully functional without it," according to the company.

The course, which takes about 120 hours of study, consists of twelve lessons: Robot Fundamentals (robot evolution, terminology, low-technology robots, medium and hi-tech robots), AC and Fluidic Power (AC power, AC motors, hydraulics, pneumatics), DC Power and Positioning (Batteries, DC motors, stepper motors), Microprocessor Fundamentals, A Typical Microprocessor Controller (6808 MPU), Data Acquisition (sensors), Data Handling and Conversion, Voice Synthesis, ET-18 Interfacing (ET-18 is the robot's catalog number), Industrial Robots at Work, and Experiments. Four appendixes cover Number Systems and Codes, 6808 Data Sheets, Definition of the Executable Instructions, and The Phoneme Dictionary.

Heath recommends previous completion of their courses in AC and DC electronics, digital techniques, and basic microprocessors, "or a basic knowledge of those subjects," before starting the Robotics Course, which is designed for industrial training as well as individual use. The robot can be assembled in 40 to 60 hours, but Heath doesn't advise novices to try building it.

The text is straightforward, very clear and detailed, with many helpful illustrations. The interfacing chapter gets down to the gate level to describe in detail how the RAM, ROM and control circuits operate. Self-test reviews are provided at the end of each unit within each chapter, plus an optional final exam to be sent to Heath for scoring.

The longest chapter is the last one, 276 pages of experiments, meant to be used with the assembled robot and accompanied by the few necessary additional parts.

This is Heath's most amibitious product yet, and is well worth the money, although the final chapter is of little value without the robot. The course is as complete and detailed as the robot construction manual, written by a company that puts much more effort into its famous, easy-to-follow kit manuals than any other.

Review Grade: B